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Literature / The Truth About Forever

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The Truth About Forever is a 2004 young adult novel by Sarah Dessen.

Macy Queen's summer is carefully lined up in front of her— a job at the library, SAT preparation, helping her realtor mother plan the grand opening of her new housing development, and trying to cope with her father's recent, sudden death. Falling into a job at the chaotic Wish Catering was not a part of the plan. With a group of eccentric, loving new friends— not to mention brooding, tattooed sculpture artist Wes, Macy's polar opposite —finally pushing her out of her shell, Macy gains a new lease on life and learns that the unexpected can be exactly what you need.


This novel contains examples of:

  • Academic Alpha Bitch: The girls at the library info desk, Bethany and Amanda.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: In-Universe. Everyone views Monica as an unfeeling slacker. Her sister Kristy, however, believes that she purposefully closes herself off from people due to survivor's guilt for not being in a car crash with Kristy and their mother. We are never given definitive answers for this, but it's implied that Kristy is right.
  • Always Someone Better: Macy believes this about Amanda and Bethany, two other girls who work at the library, until Kristy points out otherwise.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: It's easy to interpret Monica as Autistic - she rarely speaks, doesn't emote well, has a tendency to shut down in stressful situations and is described more than once as being disconnected with what's going on around her, such as everyone in the restaurant freaking out when it's busy and everything is going wrong, while Monica calmly eats a crab cake. The fact her sister is the only one who seems to know the difference in Monica's moods and is very protective of Monica also helps.
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  • Armor-Piercing Question: Macy and Wes bond over asking one another these types of questions. Since she reveals her biggest secret to him so early on, Macy feels much more comfortable with him than anyone. Near the end of the book she asks him a real armor piercing question (What he would do if he could do anything?) and he doesn't answer her. Later, she has him ask her the same question and her answer is to kiss him.
  • Betty and Veronica:
    • Macy between Jason (Betty) and Wes (Veronica).
    • Wes between Macy (Betty) and his girlfriend Becky (Veronica).
  • Big Brother Instinct:
    • Wes is very protective of Bert and claims Bert is what he worries about the most.
    • They may bicker from time to time, but Kristy does not like people slagging off her sister Monica and defends her at every opportunity, probably because she knows Monica won't.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: Macy.
  • Catchphrase:
    • Monica only has about three phrases: "Mmm-hmm", "Donneven" and "Bettaquit".
    • Kristy has "You know".
    • Delia has "Please, God, I'm begging you". Macy later adopts it.
  • Cinderella Circumstances: Macy jokes that she's like Cinderella in reverse. She spends her days as the quiet, perfect good girl then at night goes to a Wish catering job that is nonstop mess and chaos only to return home and become the good girl again by midnight.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Delia.
  • Clueless Chick Magnet: Subverted with Wes. He is aware of all the girls who check them out, he's just not all interested.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Jason does not seem to understand when Macy explains you can't know everything that's going to happen in life. He responds to her explanation with, "But of course we'll know. We have a list."
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • Macy loses her father and can't find anyone who can understand her grief. She then takes a job at a catering company with five other people and all five of them have lost a loved one and understand her grief.
    • Macy's gift from her dad, which coincidentally turns out to be one of Wes's sculptures.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Bert blasts Pink Floyd (which she hates) in the van after Kristy ends up making everyone twenty-minutes late. He turns it off pretty quickly, though.
  • Cool Big Sis: Caroline, though Macy doesn't seem to think so at first.
  • Daddy's Girl: Macy.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Kristy and Monica, surprisingly. Kristy ironically handles it much better then Monica, even though she was the one who was actually in the accident, as opposed to Monica's guilt complex.
  • Declaration of Protection: Macy's mother.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Kristy is apparently a terrible driver, but we never actually get to see this because everyone in Wish refuses to let her.
  • Dumb Blonde: Rachel. She didn't understand the concept of odd numbers, according to Kristy, when Bert was tutoring her.
  • Eccentric Mentor: Delia to Macy and the Wish Crew.
  • Everyone Can See It: Between Macy and Wes, ignoring how much the former denies it.
  • The Fashionista: Kristy.
  • Female Gaze: Wes invokes this in-universe. Kristy dubs it the "Sa-woon".
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Macy is Responsible to Caroline's Foolish, though it's played with as Caroline points out that Macy should learn to have a little fun once in a while instead of shutting herself up in her room studying all the time.
  • Former Teen Rebel: Caroline.
  • Genki Girl: Kristy.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Kristy's scars are apparently very noticeable and detract from her beauty. However, they are described as being only two, somewhat faded scars and they aren't described in any way that shows them to be all that grotesque. She apparently has other, much worse scars on other parts of her body but those are usually covered up.
  • Hidden Depths: The Wish Catering Crew, especially Monica and Kristy.
  • Insufferable Genius:
    • Jason Talbot.
    • Bethany and Amanda, the girls who work at the Library Info Desk with Jason.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Kristy's explanation for why neither she or Monica have ever gone after Wes, and similarly Kristy acts like an older sister to Bert as well.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Kristy is this for Monica, who has a lot of trouble expressing emotion and tends to shut down when she can't handle things, and Kristy jumps to defend her at every opportunity and usually explains what Monica is feeling to others who can't tell the difference.
  • Love Epiphany: Macy for Wes.
  • Loony Friends Improve Your Personality: The Wish Catering crew for Macy. Even her sister Caroline notices the change, and she only visit sporadically.
  • Malaproper: Kristy is very fond of making up words like "tragical" and insisting they are proper words.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: The Wish Catering Crew is this for Macy.
  • My Greatest Failure: Macy quits running because she was five minutes too late to save her father, who had a heart attack right before she reached him.
  • Opposites Attract: Macy's parents.
  • Parental Substitute: Delia looks after her nephews Wes and Bert after the death of her sister. She also is supportive of Macy while her mother is being emotionally distant and is, in general, is a Team Mom to the Wish Crew.
  • The Quiet One: Monica is nicknamed Monotone because she usually only says two or three words at a time.
  • Race for Your Love: Played with. Macy probably didn't need to run after Wes but the moment is more about her finally willing herself to run again rather than a time limit.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Kirsty and Monica.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Macy quitting her incredibly boring job at the library, particularly as two annoying, condescending girls were always undermining her and bossing her around.
  • Serious Business:
    • Bert takes his Armageddon programs very seriously.
    • Kristy will not tolerate anybody talking smack about her clothes.
  • Shipper on Deck: Kristy ships Macy/Wes from early on in the book, and eventually so do Monica and Caroline.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang:
    • Wes and Bert.
    • Kristy and Monica.
    • Macy and Caroline.
    • Delia and Wish.
  • Silent Snarker: Monica.
  • Stepford Smiler:
    • Macy.
    • Macy's mother Deborah is an even bigger one. At least Macy admits she's grieving, but it takes almost to the end of the novel for Deborah to do that.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Wes.
  • Those Two Guys: Bethany and Amanda at the library, though their interactions with Macy are not Played for Laughs.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: "Everyone loves meatballs."


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